Thanks for the Sweat, Sabres
Well what's left is there to say Sabres fans, at the end of another disappointing year? Truthfully, I would like to say THANK YOU for at least giving us a sweat at the end of the year. As Buffalo fans we are conditioned to think that our team will get close, but never make it over the hump, so what are we so upset about? Let's think realistically here, if someone asked you in January whether or not you thought the Sabres would ever move into a playoff spot again before the regular season ended, not too many people would say yes. In fact, I would have laid big odds that they wouldnt even be able to string three wins together, but I would have been wrong on both accounts.
The season as a whole was disappointing and this last push for the playoffs really showed us who needs to stay and who needs to go. So, with other fans looking forward to the playoffs, I would look forward to next year, Sabres fans. We have a lot of good things going for us, and with the way they were playing at the end of this year, how can you not be excited for 2012-2013?
So who do the Sabres need to cut their losses with and make deals to move? I would say #1, and it breaks my heart to say because I have been a loyal fan for years, is Derek Roy. Roy, like many of the "core group" has not lived up to his potential and salary. He is a giant paycheck in the budget, and simply does not produce and lead the way he is paid to. While he has put in game changing goals over his career as a Sabre, and was on pace for a career setting high last year, Roy is more trouble then he is worth.
Jochen Hecht is the other salary sucker that needs to be put out to pasture. He is 35 and a free agent, and unfortunately has had three concussions in the past year and is far over his prime. Even for a one year deal, I don't see this point. This isn't a player who is good enough to continue risking his health, like for instance, Sidney Crosby.
Tyler Ennis needs to be given Derek Roy's contract and shown that he is a big part of the future of this franchise. Ennis, Stafford and Foligno were easily the best line for the Sabres in the past month and a half, and should be some of the top producers next year. Ennis for a long time has been down played because of his size, however he without a doubt has the best hands on the team, and his ability to hold on to the puck is something the Sabres desperately need. He is part of the new core of this team, and Darcy needs to do everything he can to make him happy.
But to be frank, next year all relies on Ryan Miller. He is the backbone of this team, and a big reason this team even had a chance at the playoffs this year. So if we get Ryan Miller at at least 90% to start the season, I would look forward to at least a decent start to the year.
Cheer up Sabres fans, if you think back to how we felt at new years there wasn't even a reason to watch, at least we got a couple months of the team that was promised to us. At this point, do what I do and follow your west coast team in the playoffs. Don't have a west coast team yet and feel guilty about liking another team? Don't. They will only play the Sabres at most twice a year, and you have double the chances of watching a team in the post season. The Blackhawks were an easy choice for me as I went to school just outside Chicago and they were the only hockey I got to watch for four years, plus one of their top players is Buffalo native Patty Kane, just a suggestion.
The playoffs are always an exciting time, and it's a shame we can't be a part of them this year, but we will be next year. We all knew the changes made last summer and before the deadline this year would take some time for the team to adjust to, so be excited for next year. We have a playoff team here in Bufffalo, it was always just going to take time.
LETS GO BUFFALO!
(and until next season, "Here come the Hawks!")